Research questions liver disease prevalence in IBD

by Chris Thomas
It has always been recognised that up to five per cent of inflammatory bowel disease patients may have significant liver disease. Credit: Peter Gerdes

Do inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients have a higher prevalence of clinically significant liver disease?

It's a question researchers from Fremantle Hospital's Centre for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Department of Gastroenterology, along with Curtin University's Centre for Population Health Research, set out to explore in a study to evaluate the claim.

Researchers used transient elastrography for the study, a way of measuring the elastic modulus – or stiffness – of the liver using sonic detection via an ultrasound-like probe in a machine known as a FibroScan.

The is measured in kilopascals, correlated to fibrosis, and is done without invasive investigation to deliver immediate results.

Lead author Dr Lena Thin says it has always been recognised that up to five per cent of IBD patients may have significant liver disease due to many multifactorial causes such as drugs, fatty liver disease and (PSC).

But this may have been over or underestimated due to a reliance on and abnormal liver tests (where are checked and found to be atypical).

IBD patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the two main forms of IBD, were tested (110 total) against 55 in a control group.

There were no significant differences in liver stiffness between the two groups, although age and increased body mass index did independently cause it to be higher in the IBD group.

"The frequency of occult liver disease in IBD patients is low and this was confirmed using transient elastography in this study," Dr Thin says.

"The main cause of liver disease found was thought to be due to , just as it is in the general population.

"It means we must pay attention to metabolic risk factors in our patients and aim for minimisation of corticosteroid use [steroid hormones]."

Still uncertainty in detection of chloestatic liver diseases

Centre for Inflammatory Bowel Disease director Professor Ian Lawrance, another of the study's authors, says while significant in the IBD patients was found to be no greater than in the general population, this "may not be fully true" with recent data about PSC.

Dr Thin says this stems from the fact the FibroScan has not been shown to be particularly accurate in predicting fibrosis in chloestatic liver diseases.

"The incidence of PSC in IBD may be a lot higher than previously thought," she says.

More information: "Detection of liver injury in IBD using transient elastography." Thin LW, et al. J Crohns Colitis. 2014 Feb 12. pii: S1873-9946(13)00439-X. DOI: 10.1016/j.crohns.2013.12.006. [Epub ahead of print]

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Inflammatory bowel disease raises risk of melanoma

May 20, 2013

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at higher risk of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, report researchers at Mayo Clinic. Researchers found that IBD is associated with a 37 percent greater risk for the disease. ...

Melanoma risk up in IBD independent of biologic therapy

Jan 31, 2014

(HealthDay)—Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with an increased risk of melanoma, independent of the use of biologic therapy, according to research published in the February issue of Clinical Ga ...

Recommended for you

Mediterranean diet may help protect kidney health

2 hours ago

Adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet may significantly reduce the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (C ...

Ebola fears infect Louisiana medical conference

5 hours ago

Ebola fears have infected a U.S. medical conference on the subject. Louisiana state health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.